EventsDivine Threads: Cantonese Opera in Vancouver

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Divine Threads: Cantonese Opera in Vancouver

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM


Originating in Southern China’s Guangdong Province, Cantonese Opera (粵劇) is a traditional Chinese art form that involves music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting. This popular and performative art flourished in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1920s and has seen renewed interest due to the continued preservation of its history.

Join us for a visual presentation, a discussion, and a sneak peek of how Cantonese Opera is made!

Dr. April Liu will discuss the historical context through archival images of both the visual and material culture of Cantonese Opera, as well as share challenges that new migrants faced in the city at the time. Rosa Cheng will provide a production overview by sharing costumes and a musical teaser for the making of The Prop Master’s Dream, a new fusion opera inspired by the true life story of Wah Kwan Gwan, an Indigenous Cantonese Opera performer.


Part 1 - A Brief History of Cantonese Opera in Vancouver During the Exclusion Era

Part 2 - The Story of Wah Kwan Gwan, a Performer and Prop Maker with Chinese Indigenous heritage from BC

Part 3 - The Making of The Prop Master's Dream, a Sneak Peek at the Costumes, Musical Fusions, and Performances

Dr. April Liu is an independent curator and cultural programmer for the arts and culture sector who completed her PhD in art history at the University of British Columbia in 2012. Liu served as the Curator of Public Programs and Engagement at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, where she led the museum’s programming and outreach. She recently published Divine Threads: The Visual and Material Culture of Cantonese Opera, the first book-length study of the opera’s elaborate costumes, props, and stage designs.

Rosa Cheng is a professional Cantonese Opera performer, director, and instructor with over 25 years of experience. Rosa has performed the principal female role in over fifty Cantonese Opera repertoires. She studied with renowned Beijing opera artists Mr. Siu Wah Lee and Ms. Xiao Fu Li, and founded the Vancouver Cantonese Opera Company (VCO) in 2000, where she serves as Artistic Director.


This event is part of Uplift Asian, a new programming series at VPL designed to celebrate Asian voices and push back against discrimination.



To join the event you will need a computer, tablet or phone with the Zoom app. Headphones are recommended. This event will be a webinar, so the audience will not be visible, and you do not require a webcam.

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Please register. Registration is not required to attend, but it helps us anticipate attendance and send a reminder the day before the event, or any updates about this program.

Uplift Asian
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